Because They Know They Can Get Away With It

http://www.azcentral.com/story/laurieroberts/2015/01/01/brewer-gives-goodbye-bonuses-to-staff/21118903/

 It’s why the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System this year offered 20, 35 and 42 percent raises to three members of the crack investment staff of the state’s most poorly managed pension system.

This is the perfect example of how the elite think. “We are the deserving people”. They don’t see the “little” people, the homeless Vet, the Mom and kids living in a shabby flop house with all hope gone, the dead & abused children from a lack of CPA funding. Because of their already high salaries they don’t live in run-down, crime infested neighborhoods. They don’t see the unemployed, or under employed guy/gal working 2 part time jobs, who are paying their 8+% sales tax on shoes and tires having meatless days and no milk till the next payday. They only see a pile of tax dollars, they can increase at will! What’s 160K? Just close another homeless shelter, short the schools, and bury another kid who wasn’t reached in time. Can we really expect them to do their jobs at peak performance for 100-175K a year? Guess not!

Commentary by Lois Keating       AZ Central 1-3-15

Gov. Brewer’s staff cashes in on way out the door

Laurie Roberts, columnist | azcentral.com – January 2, 2015

Fresh off her farewell world tour – you know, that “trade mission” to China in the waning weeks of her term — Gov. Jan Brewer decided to send off her staff with a little something extra.

That’s right, here in a state that’s broke and getting broker, the outgoing governor reached for the checkbook (ours, of course) and played Santa to her staff.

According to Republic reporter Craig Harris, Brewer doled out $10,000 in bonuses to each of 10 employees, eight of whom already pull down $125,000 or more a year.

In all, she gave $160,000 in bonus pay to 22 staffers, many of whom already earn five or more times the median income of the mere taxpayers who must foot the bill. Half of the money was awarded in July and the rest this month.

This, as the state faces a $1.5 billion shortfall.

Brewer, naturally, was unavailable for comment. Because a lame duck governor in her last week is just sooooo busy and can’t possibly come to the phone to explain her final act as steward of our state and our money.

But readers sure had plenty to say it, responding to my azcentral.com blog on Brewer’s publicly funded largesse.

“Let’s see,” wrote Cindy Mendenhall Rosenberg, of Phoenix. “The Legislature spends $800k on remodeling, and the Gov hands out $100k in bonuses, but not a penny to spare for court-ordered funding for the schools.”

“Simply disgusting,” wrote Cindy Hersh, of Phoenix. “So, if I decide to not pay taxes will that help curtail this irresponsible spending! Goodbye and good riddance!”

“They do it,” Sam Fernandez wrote, “simply because they can and there is nobody there to stop them!”

“There needs to be real reform in many levels of government,” wrote Kim Fisher, of Phoenix. “The question is, will people support those working towards it or just complain about it.

I’m guessing we know the answer to that, which is why so many of our leading lights act as they do.

Because they know they can get away with it.

It’s why they felt entitled to give unauthorized raises to 169 state employees in the year that ended in July – that is, raises that weren’t approved by the Department of Administration as required. Of those 169 raises, 59 went to staffers who work for outgoing Attorney General Tom Horne and 47 work for outgoing state Superintendent John Huppenthal. Another 37 work for the Corporation Commission.

It’s why the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System this year offered 20, 35 and 42 percent raises to three members of the crack investment staff of the state’s most poorly managed pension system.

It’s why outgoing Corporation Commissioner Brenda Burns gave a $10,000 bonus to her $99,501-a-year assistant Thomas Galvin this year.

It’s why Corporation Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith gave a $10,500 bonus to her $94,500-a-year assistant Laurie Woodall.

And why the Corporation Commission gave Utilities Division Director Steven Olea a 21.5 percent raise, to $150,000 last year.

Rebecca Wilder, spokeswoman for the commission, said the bonuses were “due to exemplary performance and extra workload”.

Because as we all know, top aides are the only ones who go above and beyond.

In Brewer’s office, they surely must.

Among those who got $10,000 raises were Chief of Staff Scott Smith (to go with his $175,000 salary), Deputy Chief of Staff Kathy Peckardt ($165,000), Budget Director John Arnold ($147,000) and General Counsel Joe Sciarrotta Jr. ($143,325).

Also, Policy Director Michael Hunter ($139,125), Communications Director Andrew Wilder ($135,000), Deputy Policy Director Donald Hughes ($125,000), Federal Relations Director Ryan Serote ($125,000), Legislative Affairs Director Lorna Romero ($88,000) and Special Assistant to the Governor Susan Myers ($85,775).

Andrew Wilder described the bonuses as “retention payments.”

As if earning $135,000 a year to be the governor’s mouthpiece wasn’t enough of an incentive to stick around.

Meanwhile, per capita income in Arizona is $25,358.

Me? I’m thinking more of us ought to go into “public service.”

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